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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

more friendly, charming and co-operative body of men one could not find
anywhere, or a more determined and courageous body among whom to
fight. I have seen and heard only one side of the case. ... I do find it
hard, indeed impossible, to wed this Agreement with the Atlantic Charter.
Painstakingly, though possibly erroneously, I have tried to explain the
matter to the men who were under my command. I tried to show earlier
in my speech that the words " freedom " and " democracy " mean something
slightly different to almost everyone. ... 1 am afraid it is obvious that
those two words have a very different meaning in Eastern Europe to what they
have in Western Europe. The word " democracy " either as adjective or as
noun appears more frequently than any other word in this part of the
Conference Report, in so far as it deals with liberated Europe and Poland.
It talks of:
" democratic principles . . . democratic means . . . democratic ele-
ments . . . broader democratic basis . . . free and unfettered elections/'
and so on. It would be disappointing and to my mind disastrous, after the
long journeys which the Prime Minister undertook to get to the Crimea
and all the hard v/ork that was done, if we found that he, the President of
the United States and Marshal Stalin were not all speaking exactly the same
language. In fact, a slightly different definition was given to this word
by all three of them.
I realise as well as anyone that the future peace and prosperity, not only
of our own country, but of Europe and the world, depend upon the co-
operation between what are known as the " Big Three." But to my mind
we cannot hope for true and lasting co-operation unless it is based on a real
understanding and not on a sham, and to my mind to attempt to marry
up this solution of the Polish problem, as my hon. and gallant Friend the
Member for Stafford (Captain Thorneycroft) tried to do, and much else
that has happened in Eastern Europe, and is still happening to-day in Eastern
Europe, with the Atlantic Charter, is really nothing more than a sham-
Mr. Raikes (Conservative) : The Prime Minister, when he called for a
Vote of Confidence, made it abundantly plain that he wanted the Vote
to show to the world that this House was behind him not simply in what he
had done, but in the justice of what he had done. Since then several speeches
have been made. The most eloquent speech made on the Government side
to-day was made by the hon. and gallant Member for Stafford (Captain
Thorneycroft). He did not base it on justice ; with great honesty he said
he thought it was an unjust settlement. The hon. Member for West
Leicester (Mr. H. Nicolson), in rather gentler language, agreed with him.
One thing is certain—however great the Vote may be to-day, it will not be
able to go out that all who voted for the Motion voted for it because they
believe that the Motion was just.
The real issue on this Amendment is far wider than Poland. It is the issue
of the good name of Britain among the nations of the world. Are we, in the
attitude we are adopting at the present time, encouraging, as the result of
the Yalta Agreement, the nations of Europe to say, as they have often said
in the past, that Britain is the friend and hope of the weak ? That is the
touchstone and test, and on that touchstone I propose to speak. The
territorial issue of Poland and the independence of Poland are both matters
which are interwoven with British honour. Much has been said upon
the territorial boundaries, and I do not propose to deal with the question
at any length. The Prime Minister, with a great flourish, assured the House
yesterday that, after all, Poland would have been utterly destroyed if it
had not been for Russia. I think his tone has been rather that of a man
who regards Poland as a defeated country which has to get the best it can
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